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Altice buys 5 pct of SFR off-market after regulator blocks public offer

PARIS Oct 14 Billionaire Patrick Drahi's Altice telecoms group said on Friday it had bought a 5.21 percent stake in its French subsidiary SFR Group, raising its stake to more than 82 percent by buying shares off the market in private transactions.

The move, paid for in existing Altice shares at a ratio of 8 Altice for 5 SFR, comes less than a fortnight after the French regulator AMF blocked its public offer at that same price for the entire outstanding minority of shares in the business.

The AMF said on Oct. 6 it had blocked the public offer on the grounds it lacked information for minority shareholders to judge it.

Altice chief executive Michel Combes criticised the decision as "incomprehensible" but withdrew the offer as a result.

(Reporting by Andrew Callus; Editing by Geert De Clercq)

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